His musical path is atypical. At age four, he was offered a Gwoka drum, and Anzala (one of the all time greats along with Velo and Carnot), showed him how to play the seven fundamental rhythms -Toumblak, Graj, Lewoz, Kalagya, Padjanbel, Mende, Woulé.
At age six, while living in Switzerland, he discovers Jazz music through his best friend’s dad record collection. Fascinated, he self teaches the guitar by playing along with records. By age eleven, he sat in with the players of the local Lausanne scene, but soon after, his family relocated in Guadeloupe. There, without a jazz scene, he concentrated on his studies, most notably at the prestigious School of Government called Sciences Po, and eventually landed a job as a Senator’s assistant in Paris. At twenty-four he appeared poised for a more conventional success, until by chance he tried a friend’s tenor saxophone. He practiced between his long hours at the Senate, and three years later, he abandoned his nascent career to attend Berklee School of Music.
After a grueling practice schedule that spanned four years, he graduated from Berklee, and developed a reputation by playing with acknowledged leaders of the Boston jazz scene, such Danilo Perez, Bob Moses, Giovanni Hidalgo, before leaving for New York City. One week upon arriving there, goes to hear Chucho Valdes, Roy Hargrove and Randy Brecker perform at Bradlee’s Jazz Club. In a moment of boldness, he pulls out his horn, jumps on stage and joins in. One month later, he gets a call from Roy Hargrove to replace David Sanchez in his Latin Jazz band, Crisol. By early 2000, he earns his nickname, “Brother Jacques,” from musician D’Angelo, in praise of Schwarz-Bart’s musicianship. In addition to Hargrove and D’Angelo, Schwarz-Bart has done session work and performed live with Erykah Badu, Eric Benet, Meshell N’degeocello, James Hurt, Danilo Perez, Soulive, Ari Hoenig and David Gilmore, among others. His tune “Forget Regret” was the single on Roy Hargrove’s 2003 album Hard Groove.
Jacques Schwarz-Bart has produced several personal projects. After a straight ahead CD entitled Immersion, comes The Brother Jacques Project: a mixture of soul and jazz, with layers of Caribbean rhythms, featuring the vocalist Stephanie McKay. With his 2007 album on Universal, Soné Ka-La,Jacques Schwarz-Bart is one of the first musicians to fully explore the connection between Gwoka and jazz, two musical styles of the African Diaspora. The project features musicians such as Admiral T and Jacob Desvarieux of Kassav’. It is his oldest project, and yet the one that took the longest to achieve.